walking the plank, willingly.

Monday I was catching up on four days out of the office.  Tuesday started with a giant email full of observations and critique from one member of the staff, followed by an I’d-like-to-tell-you-what-I-think-is-wrong-with-my-department meeting requested by another.  Wednesday was a staff meeting and a lot of work on Middle States accreditation, which is important to the College, but pushes aside my other priorities.  Today was more meetings, a conference call, a reference desk stint, and a revelation about trust and accountability that I was not expecting or prepared for.

Tomorrow, therefore, is an impromptu vacation day.

I’ve written before about how Management isn’t a dirty word, about how librarians who move into management deserve the benefit of the doubt, and how it’s really not a crappy job to have.  And I’m not lying when I write those things.  It’s not a crappy job to have.  I love what I do.  I believe in the mission and work of libraries, and higher education. When I think about the libraries entrusted into my care, I have a vision and some goals and a strong sense of how to get there.  I am daily impressed by the work done by my colleagues here in the libraries, and I try to remember to tell them so.  As a whole, their initiative, dedication, and purpose are unparalleled, and I know that we do very good work.  I know it because of things like data that show that our building use is up by 33% in the main library, and 47% in the music library, this September compared to last.  Good work, and it’s appreciated.

But being a manager is hard work, and complex work, and, if you care about the vision and the goals and the people, it’s emotionally draining work.  So some weeks wear on you.  Some weeks, it’s hard by Thursday afternoon to remember what you’d hoped to accomplish this week when you started on Monday, because you’ve been so rocked off course by the week’s events that you don’t remember where you were trying to go.  Some weeks it’s really hard to steer the ship through these seas, and some course corrections are made harder by the people trying to pull the wheel in the other direction, oblivious to the rocks off the starboard bow. Some weeks are full of shouting into the wind about why going further starboard would be foolhardy.

And some weeks, by Thursday afternoon, you realize that the rocks can’t hurt you, not today, not for a while, you’ve got time to let the current pull you a while longer.  If I decide to let the boat drift for a long weekend… nothing sinks.  And so, today, with all the grace I can muster, I’m diving overboard.  Just for a little bit.

I’ll see you all on Tuesday.  The captain needs a long weekend.

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